Alan Carter's libertarian communist critique of Marxism as an ideology developed by a rising "managerial-technical" class that would replace the bourgeoisie as a new ruling class without altering in any fundamental way the exploitation of the proletariat. Carter attacks historical materialism, Marxist economics, Marxist sociology, Marx's theory of the state, and Marxist-Leninist politics (which he identifies as the form of politics advocated by Marx himself).
An essay on philosophy since 1848, its decline after WWI, attempts to salvage its valuable contributions and further its development from the 1920s (Korsch) to the 1960s (Debord), and the rise of postmodernism in the late 20th century from the ruins of the revolt of the 1960s, when academic celebrities influenced by Nietzsche and Heidegger popularized contempt for truth and reason and de facto submission to Power as part of a fashionable doctrine based on “narcissism, existential void, frivolity, consumerism” and “pseudo-identities” whose purpose, according to the author, was not just to destroy the idea of the revolution but also to disintegrate the revolutionary subject.
Sohn-Rethel’s Intellectual and Manual Labour argues that the “real abstraction” of commodity exchange makes possible “ideal abstraction” in cognition. In a radical version of the Marxist base-superstructure argument, Sohn-Rethel claims that abstraction must first exist in reality before it can appear in a pure form in the intellect. Mirroring Marx’s “critique of political economy,” Sohn-Rethel’s “critique of epistemology” attempts to prove that Kant’s a priori categories should not be grounded in the timeless transcendental subject but rather in the historical development of human society.
Now, for the first time in English translation, The Obsolescence of Man, Volume II, in its entirety, by Günther Anders, first published in Germany in 1980, an indispensable “philosophy of technology” by one of the most insightful philosophers and social critics of the 20th century, more relevant now than ever, the result of over twenty years of considerations “On the Destruction of Life in the Epoch of the Third Industrial Revolution”, featuring essays on consumerism, automation, work, leisure, “meaning”, totalitarianism, conformism, mass culture, sports, religion, surveillance, fascism, ideology, history, science fiction, art, “happenings”, psychotherapy, drugs, and more.
A relentless denunciation of the concept of “progress”, tracing its ideological roots to Saint Augustine and then to Turgot, its use in the Enlightenment as a two-edged weapon of the rising bourgeoisie against the Ancien Régime, its golden age in the time of Comte, Darwin and Marx (reminding us that it was Marx who said, “every development in the means of new productive forces is at the same time a weapon against the workers”), its temporary eclipse amidst the world wars and genocide in the first half of the 20th century, and documenting its culmination as a philistine “password”, “myth” and “alibi” for generating conformist submission to technological disaster.
In this 2007 essay, Robert Kurz examines the question of theory and practice from the perspective of the “categorical” “critique of value-dissociation”, with extensive discussions of Marx, Engels, Bloch, Adorno, Horkheimer, Gramsci, Althusser, Foucault, Debord, Negri, and Holloway, and concludes, in the face of the prevalent urge for immediate “action” and the equally widespread denigration of theory, that “critical theory must consciously maintain a distance from all existing praxis”.
Unconscious objectivity - aspects of a critique of the mathematical natural sciences (excerpts) - Claus Peter Ortlieb
A mathematician takes a sceptical look at the mathematical basis of modern natural science both from an immanent perspective—with regard to its epistemological contradictions (e.g., the divergence of the experimental method from the requirements of a strict empiricism)—as well as from a historical perspective that situates its rise and development in the context of the emergence of capitalist society in Western Europe, and proposes that it, too, like Ptolemaic astronomy, is a transient phenomenon that might be succeeded by another “Copernican revolution in thought”, one in accordance with a different kind of socio-economic system.
In this 2010 interview, Robert Kurz discusses Marx’s theory of crisis, the theories of “collapse” advocated by a minority of Marxists (Luxemburg, Grossman, Mattick) in the early 1900s, the implications of the “third industrial revolution of microelectronics” for capitalist accumulation, Moishe Postone’s analysis of the crisis of abstract labor, “anti-industrialism” and the anti-growth movement (Décroissants), and the meaning of “labor” as a historical and economic concept that must be transcended and replaced by “conscious social planning” and a “broad diversification of industrial production and services, implemented in accordance with purely qualitative criteria”.